1-2-3, 4-5-6, 7-8-9, 10-11-12 Ladybugs At The Ladybug Picnic

That’s a song I learned in the 70s as a child, watching Sesame Street. All the counting songs are forever imbedded in my brain, often hitting the needle at 3am as I awaken, and playing in my head as I do what middle-aged folks do at least twice each early morning.

Everybody likes ladybugs, no? They don’t sting. Their shape and color are pleasing, and they can eat thousands of insects in their lifetimes, so more power to them. Plus, they are polka dotted like a jaunty spring umbrella! This one seemed to enjoy our oak tree just fine. Sadly, the ice storm in February killed many of our trees, and this one was felled by a chainsaw last week, ne’er more to be walked upon by ladybug legs.

I’ll Give You Something To Smile About

In true I Don’t Get It fashion, I know not if these are cheeseheads, pyramid fans, or Delta crowns. I can surmise that tobacco is being shared, but I cannot fathom the reason for such ruffled collars. In any case, I hope these smiles are contagious.

All images from 1937 UT Cactus

Inspired Cinder Block Art

West Texas State 1969

You cannot tell by the expressions on the faces of these short-haired ladies, but they were truly in the presence of not only higher education, but higher decoration. So much is left to the imagination! Is that a tree on the left? If so, is this a Japanese painting of a willow tree at a stream? Is it prairie grass? Helter skelter? Kilroy was here? Is it simply the crayon chaos of a toddler? No matter. Patty, put more parmesan on the pizza.

These fellows presumably were denied the scrawled ambience of the former picture, but instead had a tableside jukebox. Or its it a phone? I can hardly tell.

Does this booth have a phone as well? Who were folks calling? Maybe in days of yore, before Instagramming your brunch, you called everyone you knew one by one, to describe the way the yolk ran out of the poach as your fork tine punctured it?

All I know is, this little frosh is eating away her cares with a nice serving of dessert! Sometimes it’s sad to be plaid.

The Hungry Pájaros

Ever since last month’s ice storm, the surviving birds have been in search of food. Normally at this time of year, trees would be budding, flowers blooming in the sea of verdant spring to which we are accustomed. Not this year. Everything is dead or brown. Or both. Our palm tree lost all its dozen fronds. Our oaks remain frozen in time, covered in ugly brown leaves that will not fall. The earth itself doesn’t know what season it is. It’s the ugliest I’ve ever seen Texas in my life because it was the coldest and the iciest it had ever been.

However, the cottonwood tree has begun putting out these yellow pods, for which the birds have gone crazy.

I’ve never seen so many birds on the branches of our cottonwood before. They stay for several minutes, then fly off, just as another drove comes to feast.

I do hope things will soon return to normal, in every sense of the word.

I

Cedar Waxwings Flummoxed By Snowvid Armageddon

Bird dynamics have been FUBAR during this frozen apocalypse. They appear to be much more sociable than in days of yore, flocking together and flying from icicle tree to icicle tree, wondering what in the name of the holy mother is going on. I know they are cedar waxwings because their little wingtips appear to have been dipped in red and yellow paint, and they wear that black mask which conveys a sense of outrage at Nature’s recent shenanigans. Here in central Texas, the old quote of “water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink” keeps popping up, as we continue yet more days sans water. Yup, it’s snowing, but we can’t drink that, although we’ve melted 14 gallons of it so far to use to flush toilets. Last week, we filled up some Arizona tea jugs with tap water, so we still have that. I suppose the birds can lick the icicles?

I braved my death by stepping onto our icy front porch to toss them handfuls of hemp seeds and pumpkin seeds out of an abundance of my own grace and mercy upon them. They flew away. Perhaps that’s why we call them bird brains.

Six Days Difference

This beautiful rye grass was our back yard six days ago. The oak tree was budding, and Roxie was free to spend hours in the sun. If you zoom in, you can see why she was agitated. A possum was hanging upside-down on the trellis. Can you see it?

Today, however, is a different story. Thursday’s ice storm bent the branches of that oak, and it will likely never recover. The cottonwood still stands tall, under a few feet of snow, the most we’ve ever had. My phone said 5 degrees when I awoke. Tonight we will reach a record-breaking one. We’ve dripped the faucets, but many of our friends and family have been without water for days and heat for hours. We are not allowed to travel until next weekend, due to layers of ice. Everything is closed all week. I will have to get creative with the one onion we have. Lentil soup? Tacos? We are down to one cup of milk. But we’ll be all right as long as we have heat and water and each other.

Spring, Interrupted

The weather keeps getting stranger and stranger. Last month, I saw more snow than had ever fallen in Austin in my life. This week will be the lowest temps we’ve ever weathered, dipping into single digits. We received a text from the county at lunch, urging folks not to travel for the next several days. The grocery stores are bare of meat, eggs, and milk.

Only days ago, spring had begun its first bloom, and now this.

Our oak tree, which had just begun to bud and stretched over 20 feet into the air, is now bowed down to the grass, branches breaking off every few hours.

Every home in our city has broken branches in its yard.

And our holly bush appears frozen in time, if not weeping from the sudden frost. Strange days indeed.